I came across this news item.
A couple who took their nearly 5-foot boa constrictor for a swim in a Pennsylvania river say the pet slipped away and they’re concerned about its welfare.
The Bloomsburg Press Enterprise reported Thursday that Kolby and Zachary Latranyi had been swimming with the snake named Leyla last weekend in the Susquehanna River. The Latranyis say the red-tailed boa was shedding, so the swim was designed to help it remove material from its scales.
They say Zachary Latranyi was on shore with the snake wrapped around his shoulders when he dozed off, never noticing that Leyla had slithered away.
They’ve been back to the riverside several times, but so far haven’t turned up the missing reptile.
Leyla is described as brown with rust-colored spots and “very friendly.”
A boa constrictor is a deadly predator and can grow much larger than five feet in length. No doubt it is “very friendly” when it is well fed but who knows what it will do when it eventually becomes hungry and starts seeking food?
While any pet owner will want to give their pet exercise and stimulating experiences such as swims in a river and would be concerned if it went missing, in this case concern about the wellbeing of the snake should perhaps take second place to those of any victims that encounter it. Didn’t these owners have any awareness of all the downsides of letting a boa constrictor wander freely out in the open? I simply do not understand people who want to keep such dangerous animals as domestic pets.
Talking of boa constrictors, I used to think that it killed its victims by squeezing them so tight that they were unable to breathe and suffocated. But it seems that what it may be doing, at least in a study involving rats, is restricting the blood flow and cause circulatory arrest, which happens more rapidly. You can see the paper here.